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Friday, August 18, 2000

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Bags and murder

It was a nice day today and I enjoyed my walk to work. Even after work it wasn't too hot, just very warm. I wandered around looking for some pants to take to Seattle. All my pants are cotton and I figured I should get some that are faster drying in case we go hiking in the rain forest. I found some nice ones at the outdoors store but not only are they a bit pricey but they don't come in petite. I really can't see paying big bucks for pants that drag on the floor.

I did find a better bag to take to work. I've been using daypacks but none of them are that good. I finally found a nice shoulder bag that also can be used as a backpack. It wasn't cheap either but since I don't use purses I figured it was a good bargain. I can't really use purses. Since I don't have a car I need to carry everything and it throws my back out if I carry it on one side. The shoulder strap is nice when I want to look professional (yeah right!) but most of the time I can use the backstraps.

I read "A Murder in Thebes" by Anna Apostolou. This series has Miriam and Simeon, Hebrews, who are part of Alexander the Great's household. This book covers the siege and destruction of Thebes when they turn against Alexander. The big mystery is why they thought he was dead, and dared to turn against him, and who killed one of his commanders in a locked room. The book is very interesting and brings this period to life.

I was brought up with the idea that all the Greeks were great philosophers and spent their time wandering around in togas thinking great thoughts. They were actually rather bloodthirsty, great warriors, a high acceptance of not only bisexuality, which I have no problem with, but sex with young boys, which I have a real problem with, slavery and a low opinion of women. Not really nice people, but par for the course, I guess, for this time in history.

This book showed all of this while still keeping my sympathy for Miriam, Simeon, the people who had to live in this brutal time and, even, Alexander, to some extent. Bloodthirsty and brutal is how you ruled back then and Alexander was well trained by his parents. He had a very disfunctional family. I read the first book of this series, "A Murder in Macedon", a couple years ago and look forward to others.

Politics still aren't nice but at least Gore and Bush aren't in hand to hand combat nor into rape and pillage. I thought Gore gave a good speech last night though I didn't watch much of it. I love the fact that for over two hundred years we've changed presidentswithout warfare, with the exception of the civil war. No coups, no takeovers by the military, no locking up your opponent. Part of this is that we don't expect everyone to agree with us. It would be nice and politicians certainly try, but by and large we agree to disagree while still doing a very nice job of making things better.

I've also finished reading "Beneath These Stones" by Ann Granger. The detective in this series is Superintendent Alan Markby who investigates the death of a farmer's wife while trying to keep his girlfriend from getting in the way with her own investigation. The characters are engaging, the plot is well done and I enjoyed the book.

Another book I read is "Quit Monks or Die" by Maxine Kumin. This was an excellent book. It involves a lab that does research on monkeys, animal rights activists, ambition and hate. It goes back and forth during the days of the crime and the investigation in a southwestern town whose economy depends on three foundations established and run by anglos in a town that is mainly latino. I couldn't read fast enough to find out what had happened and who did it.

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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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